Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Trump Falls in Line with Interventionism

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 19, 2017

In discussing President Trump, there is always the soft prejudice of low expectations – people praise him for reading from a Teleprompter even if his words make little sense – but there is no getting around the reality that his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly must rank as  one of the most embarrassing moments in America’s relations with the global community.

Trump offered a crude patchwork of propaganda and bluster, partly delivered as a campaign speech praising his own leadership – boasting about the relatively strong U.S. economy that he mostly inherited from President Obama – and partly reflecting his continued subservience to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, perhaps most importantly, Trump’s speech may have extinguished any flickering hope that his presidency might achieve some valuable course corrections in how the United States deals with the world, i.e., shifting away from the disastrous war/interventionist policies of his two predecessors.

Before the speech, there was at least some thinking that his visceral disdain for the neoconservatives, who mostly opposed his nomination and election, might lead him to a realization that their policies toward Iran, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere were at the core of America’s repeated and costly failures in recent decades.

Instead, apparently after a bracing lecture from Netanyahu on Monday, Trump bared himself in a kind of neocon Full Monte:

–He repeated the Israeli/neocon tripe about Iran destabilizing the Middle East when Shiite-ruled Iran actually has helped stabilize Iraq and Syria against Sunni terrorist groups and other militants supported by Saudi Arabia and – to a degree – Israel;

–He again denounced the Iranian nuclear agreement whose main flaw in the eyes of the Israelis and the neocons is that it disrupted their plans to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran, and he called for “regime change” in Iran, a long beloved dream of the Israelis and the neocons;

–He repeated the Israeli/neocon propaganda about Hezbollah as a terrorist organization when Hezbollah’s real crime was driving the Israeli military out of southern Lebanon in 2000, ending an Israeli occupation that began with Israel’s 1982 invasion;

–He praised his rush-to-judgment decision to bomb Syria last April, in line with Israeli/neocon propaganda against President Bashar al-Assad and partly out of a desire to please the same Washington establishment that is still scheming how to impeach him;

–He spoke with the crass hypocrisy that the neocons and many Israeli leaders have perfected, particularly his demand that “all nations … respect … the rights of every other sovereign nation” — when he made clear that he, like his White House predecessors, is ready to violate the sovereignty of other nations that get in Official Washington’s way.

A Litany of Wars

Just this century, the United States has invaded multiple nations without U.N. authorization, based on various “coalitions of the willing” and other subterfuges for wars of aggression, which the Nuremberg Tribunals deemed the “supreme international crime” and which the U.N. was specifically created to prevent.

Barack Obama and George W. Bush

Not only did President George W. Bush invade both Afghanistan and Iraq – while also sponsoring “anti-terror” operations in many other countries – but President Barack Obama acknowledged ordering military attacks in seven countries, including against the will of sovereign states, such as Libya and Syria. Obama also supported a violent coup against the elected government of Ukraine.

For his part, Trump already has shown disdain for international law by authorizing military strikes inside Yemen and Syria. In other words, if not for the fear of provoking American anger, many of the world’s diplomats might have responded with a barrage of catcalls toward Trump for his blatant hypocrisy. Without doubt, the United States is the preeminent violator of sovereignty and international law in the world today, yet Trump wagged his finger at others, including Russia (over Ukraine) and China (over the South China Sea).

He declared: “We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.”

Then, with a seeming blindness to how much of the world sees the United States as a law onto itself, Trump added: “The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based.”

Of course, in the U.S. mainstream media’s commentary that followed, Trump’s hypocrisy went undetected. That’s because across the American political/media establishment, the U.S. right to act violently around the world is simply accepted as the way things are supposed to be. International law is for the other guy; not for the “indispensible nation,” not for the “sole remaining superpower.”

On Bibi’s Leash

Despite some of his “America First” rhetoric – tossed in as red meat to his “base” – Trump revealed a global outlook that differed from the Bush-Obama neoconservative/liberal-interventionist approach in words only. In substance, Trump appears to be just the latest American poodle on Bibi Netanyahu’s leash.

For instance, Trump bragged about attacking Syria over a dubious chemical-weapons claim while ignoring the role of the Saudi/Israeli tandem in assisting Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate; Trump threatened the international nuclear agreement with Iran while calling for regime change in Tehran, two of Netanyahu’s top priorities; and Trump warned that he would “totally destroy North Korea” over its nuclear and missile programs while making no mention of Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal and sophisticated delivery capabilities.

Ignoring Saudi Arabia’s ties to terrorism, Trump touted his ludicrous summit in Riyadh in which he danced with swords and let King Salman and other corrupt Persian Gulf monarchs, who have long winked and nodded at ideological and logistical support going to Al Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups, pretend their governments were joining an anti-terror coalition.

Exploding the myth that he is at least a street-smart operator who can’t be easily conned, Trump added, “In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamist extremism that inspires them.”

No wonder Netanyahu seemed so pleased with Trump’s speech. The Israeli prime minister could have written it himself while allowing Trump to add a few crude flourishes, like calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man … on a suicide mission”; referring to “the loser terrorists”; and declaring that many parts of the world are “going to hell.”

Trump also tossed in a plug for his “new strategy for victory” in Afghanistan and threw in some interventionist talk regarding the Western Hemisphere with more threats to Cuba and Venezuela about escalating sanctions and other activities to achieve more “regime change” solutions.

So, what Trump made clear in his U.N. address is that his “America First” and “pro-sovereignty” rhetoric is simply cover for a set of policies that are indistinguishable from those pushed by the neocons of the Bush administration or the liberal interventionists of the Obama administration. The rationalizations may change but the endless wars and “regime change” machinations continue.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars

Shouldn’t they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?

Kristol

Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 19, 2017

I spoke recently at a conference on America’s war party where afterwards an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked, “Why doesn’t anyone ever speak honestly about the six-hundred-pound gorilla in the room? Nobody has mentioned Israel in this conference and we all know it’s American Jews with all their money and power who are supporting every war in the Middle East for Netanyahu? Shouldn’t we start calling them out and not letting them get away with it?”

It was a question combined with a comment that I have heard many times before and my answer is always the same: any organization that aspires to be heard on foreign policy knows that to touch the live wire of Israel and American Jews guarantees a quick trip to obscurity. Jewish groups and deep pocket individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries, meaning that no one will hear about or from the offending party ever again. They are particularly sensitive on the issue of so-called “dual loyalty,” particularly as the expression itself is a bit of a sham since it is pretty clear that some of them only have real loyalty to Israel.

Most recently, some pundits, including myself, have been warning of an impending war with Iran. To be sure, the urging to strike Iran comes from many quarters, to include generals in the Administration who always think first in terms of settling problems through force, from a Saudi government obsessed with fear over Iranian hegemony, and, of course, from Israel itself. But what makes the war engine run is provided by American Jews who have taken upon themselves the onerous task of starting a war with a country that does not conceivably threaten the United States. They have been very successful at faking the Iranian threat, so much so that nearly all Republican and most Democratic congressmen as well as much of the media seem to be convinced that Iran needs to be dealt with firmly, most definitely by using the U.S. military, and the sooner the better.

And while they are doing it, the issue that nearly all the Iran haters are Jewish has somehow fallen out of sight, as if it does not matter. But it should matter. A recent article in the New Yorker on stopping the impending war with Iran strangely suggests that the current generation “Iran hawks” might be a force of moderation regarding policy options given the lessons learned from Iraq. The article cites as hardliners on Iran David Frum, Max Boot, Bill Kristol and Bret Stephens.

Daniel Larison over at The American Conservative has a good review of the New Yorker piece entitled “Yes, Iran Hawks Want Conflict with Iran,” which identifies the four above cited hawks by name before describing them as “… a Who’s Who of consistently lousy foreign policy thinking. If they have been right about any major foreign policy issue in the last twenty years, it would be news to the entire world. Every single one of them hates the nuclear deal with Iran with a passion, and they have argued in favor of military action against Iran at one point or another. There is zero evidence that any of them would oppose attacking Iran.”

And I would add a few more names, Mark Dubowitz, Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum; John Podhoretz of Commentary magazine; Elliot Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations; Meyrav Wurmser of the Middle East Media Research Institute; Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War; and Frederick Kagan, Danielle Pletka and David Wurmser of the American Enterprise Institute. And you can also throw into the hopper entire organizations like The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Hudson Institute. And yep, they’re all Jewish, plus most of them would self-describe as neo-conservatives. And I might add that only one of the named individuals has ever served in any branch of the American military – David Wurmser was once in the Navy reserve. These individuals largely constitute a cabal of sanctimonious chairborne warriors who prefer to do the heavy thinking while they let others do the fighting and dying.

So it is safe to say that much of the agitation to do something about Iran comes from Israel and from American Jews. Indeed, I would opine that most of the fury from Congress re Iran comes from the same source, with AIPAC showering our Solons on the Potomac with “fact sheets” explaining how Iran is worthy of annihilation because it has pledged to “destroy Israel,” which is both a lie and an impossibility as Tehran does not have the resources to carry out such a task. The AIPAC lies are then picked up and replayed by an obliging media, where nearly every “expert” who speaks about the Middle East on television and radio or who is interviewed for newspaper stories is Jewish.

One might also add that neocons as a group were founded by Jews and are largely Jewish, hence their universal attachment to the state of Israel. They first rose into prominence when they obtained a number of national security positions during the Reagan Administration and their ascendancy was completed when they staffed senior positions in the Pentagon and White House under George W. Bush. Recall for a moment Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, and Scooter Libby. Yes, all Jewish and all conduits for the false information that led to a war that has spread and effectively destroyed much of the Middle East. Except for Israel, of course. Philip Zelikow, also Jewish, in a moment of candor, admitted that the Iraq War, in his opinion, was fought for Israel.

Add to the folly a Jewish U.S. Ambassador to Israel who identifies with the most right-wing Israeli settler elements, a White House appointed chief negotiator who is Jewish and a Jewish son-in-law who is also involved in formulating Middle East policy. Is anyone providing an alternative viewpoint to eternal and uncritical support for Benjamin Netanyahu and his kleptocratic regime of racist thugs? I think not.

There are a couple of simple fixes for the dominant involvement of American Jews in foreign policy issues where they have a personal interest due to their ethnicity or family ties. First of all, don’t put them into national security positions involving the Middle East, where they will potentially be conflicted. Let them worry instead about North Korea, which does not have a Jewish minority and which was not involved in the holocaust. This type of solution was, in fact, somewhat of a policy regarding the U.S. Ambassador position in Israel. No Jew was appointed to avoid any conflict of interest prior to 1995, an understanding that was violated by Bill Clinton (wouldn’t you know it!) who named Martin Indyk to the post. Indyk was not even an American citizen at the time and had to be naturalized quickly prior to being approved by congress.

Those American Jews who are strongly attached to Israel and somehow find themselves in senior policy making positions involving the Middle East and who actually possess any integrity on the issue should recuse themselves, just as any judge would do if he were presiding over a case in which he had a personal interest. Any American should be free to exercise first amendment rights to debate possible options regarding policy, up to and including embracing positions that damage the United States and benefit a foreign nation. But if he or she is in a position to actually create those policies, he or she should butt out and leave the policy generation to those who have no personal baggage.

For those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity, the media should be required to label them at the bottom of the television screen whenever they pop up, e.g. Bill Kristol is “Jewish and an outspoken supporter of the state of Israel.” That would be kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison – translating roughly as “ingest even the tiniest little dosage of the nonsense spewed by Bill Kristol at your own peril.”

As none of the above is likely to happen, the only alternative is for American citizens who are tired of having their country’s national security interests hijacked by a group that is in thrall to a foreign government to become more assertive about what is happening. Shine a little light into the darkness and recognize who is being diddled and by whom. Call it like it is. And if someone’s feelings are hurt, too bad. We don’t need a war with Iran because Israel wants one and some rich and powerful American Jews are happy to deliver. Seriously, we don’t need it.

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bahrain’s king denounces boycott of Israel, says citizens free to visit Israel

Press TV – September 18, 2017

Bahrain’s king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah has called for an end to the Arab boycott of Israel, days after the Israeli premier said relations with the Arab world were better than any other time.

According to Israeli media, King Hamad’s made the remarks at an event hosted by pro-Israeli group Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, calling for diplomatic ties to be established with the Israeli regime.

King Hamad also told Simon Wiesenthal Center director Rabbi Abraham Cooper that Bahraini citizens are free to visit Israel as they please. His stance on Israel was welcomed by the Israeli center’s director who hailed the monarch as “ahead of the pack and smart.”

“If I had to predict, I would tell you that the Arab world’s relationship with the state of Israel is going to dramatically change… This is a dinner tonight that’s hosted by a Jewish organization that no one will say is not so pro-Israel,” Cooper added.

Cooper and his partner Marvin Hier met with King Hamed at the center and discussed the opening of a museum for religious tolerance in Bahrain’s capital Manama towards the end of the year.

The change of stance comes weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described relations with the Arab world better than any other time.

“What’s happening now with the Arab bloc states has never before happened in our history – even when we signed agreements,” said Netanyahu. “What we have now is greater than anything else during any other period in Israel’s history.”

Last week, reports emerged that a secret meeting was held between a leading Saudi royal and senior Israeli officials in Tel Aviv, and in June, leaked emails of the UAE’s ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba’s suggested that Abu Dhabi had established secret links with pro-Israel think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Last year, a video of a ceremony to mark the Jewish Hanukkah holiday hosted by Bahrain circulated on social media, showing Bahraini men in local kaffiyeh attire attending the party and dancing with Orthodox Jews. The video prompted condemnation from the Palestinian movement Hamas that urged Bahrain to end the move towards normalizing ties with Israel.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. Tel Aviv has defied international calls to stop its construction activities on the occupied Palestinian territories.

The regime has accused rights groups of contributing to the worldwide anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The BDS was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

The boycott of Israel was adopted by the Arab League and its member states and bars all relations between Arab nations and Israel.

Thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS to help promote the Palestinian cause of ending Israeli occupation and oppression. Those include international trade unions, NGOs, initiatives, academic and business societies, trade unions, and cultural figures.

Last year, the regime allocated $32 million to fighting the high-profile movement. It has also banned anyone found to support the BDS from entering the Israeli-occupied territories.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 7 Comments

UAE, US ground forces to launch joint military drill

Press TV – September 16, 2017

The ground forces of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States are to begin a joint military exercise in Abu Dhabi later on Saturday.

Code-named Iron Union 5, the war game is part of a series of exercises that the UAE organizes with its allies to upgrade its military power, the UAE’s official WAM news agency reported.

The drills come amid a rift between several Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and Qatar.

Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

Separately on Saturday, Qatari and French naval forces concluded a two-day exercise in Qatar’s territorial waters.

A number of boats and the French Frigate Jean Bart reportedly took part in the drill.

Lieutenant Colonel Falah Mahdi Al Ahbabi, Qatari naval formation commander, said the marine exercise had two stages, which focused on combating terrorism and piracy as well as protecting facilities, and marine shipping lines.

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel Threatens War with Syria Over Iranian Presence in The Country

By Robert Inlakesh | American Herald Tribune | September 15 ,2017

Ayelet Shaked, the Justice Minister of Israel has just threatened the Syrian government stating that Israel “will do what is necessary” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad does not keep Iran out of Syria.

The Israeli government – who last week bombed a Syrian military outpost, killing two soldiers – have now verbally challenged the Syrian government in the form of offering an ultimatum. The threats towards Syria come at a time when the Assad government forces have all but extinguished the presence of Daesh in Syria and are coming close to completely ending the war. Israel meanwhile seem to be having an anxiety attack over the current situation and have been beating hard on the drums of war.

In Netanyahu’s most recent meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, he frequently sought to voice his concerns over Iran, this was then – to Netanyahu’s frustration – brushed under the rug by Putin as it was viewed as a non-substantial issue. A paranoid Israeli government has meanwhile been busy preparing for war with pretty much every enemy they can since that meeting took place and don’t seem to be very happy with the way things are turning out in Syria, with the strengthening of the ‘axis of resistance’.

The Israeli Military has now notably brought it’s week long series of military drills – which included an simulated invasion of Lebanon – to a halt, this was Israel’s biggest military drill since 1998 (when they simulated an invasion of Syria). For any other country, such a drill as the one started on the 5th of this month would be be seen as a possible threat to national security and/or a provocation of war for the country being threatened, however Israel seems to be able to do this whilst coming under no scrutiny from the international media, nor the international community. Last month on the 10th of August, the Israeli government announced that they were in preparation for a ground invasion of Gaza, the Israeli air-force also has been performing several fly overs of Lebanese air space and has been calling for and discussing the prospect of waging war against, Iran, Syria, Gaza and of course Lebanon frequently in their media.

So should we expect something big from Israel?

Well let us look at the possibilities; The Israeli government is constantly threatening to take their sworn enemies to war and have been doing so since their inception in 1948, but the prospect of taking Syria into a war at this time could mean a global conflict and would result in huge casualties on the side of the Israelis, as well as on the side of their opposition.

Historically Israel has never liked taking large casualties and ended their most recent onslaught on the Gaza strip (2014) primarily because of this reason.

Israeli society completely endorse war with an enemy and opinion polls from within Israel show an increased support for the elected political party when they engage in war, so for Netanyahu’s Likud party, war would seem like a good idea in order to regain some of their recently lost popularity back from far-right Israeli parties. However, when soldiers begin to die, Israeli public opinion begins to flip and becomes more critical of the government, the reason Israel ended the onslaught upon Gaza in 2014 was due to the fact that in order to take the fight to the heart of Hamas, it would mean a ground invasion. Every ground confrontation with Hamas had ended in dead and wounded Israeli soldiers, so because Netanyahu and his party understood that they would loose support from many Israelis, they decided not to go ahead with it.

If Israel were to at this moment start a conflict, it would most likely be with Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon, a war in Syria is most likely Israel just attempting to get the attention of allies, so that they can broker a deal in Syria which would see the decline of Iranian presence.

The leader of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah this Tuesday announced that the war in Syria has been won by the Syrian government, this means that Hezbollah is confident that its fighters will soon be ready to face off against Israel in full force and Israel knows this. For Israel, these are not confident times and a war on Syria or Lebanon could mean heavy casualties. It is more than likely Israel would seek to achieve a conflict between ethnic-religious factions in Lebanon as a more strategic goal of weakening Hezbollah, this would be a more well thought out move for the state to play than a straight up conflict and could be a possibility they are considering as their relationship with Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries get stronger.

The statement made by Ayelet Shaked – although it most likely won’t be acted upon – is still something that has to be noted and shows that Israel is at least willing to consider such dangerous moves militarily. Ayelet – who gained international recognition for her racially charged statements about Palestinians – also recently voiced her support for an independent Kurdish state in Syria, stating to Haaretz that “Israel as well as western states will have great benefits from the creation of a Kurdish state.” She is tipped to be a possible future Prime Minister of Israel due to her popularity and someone who is so willing to challenge neighboring countries is a dangerous person to have in government, it is also now clear from her statements that Israel has a clear cut view on how to deal with the situation in Syria (via the Kurds).

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Politics of Military Ascendancy

By James Petras • Unz Review • September 15, 2017

Introduction

Clearly the US has escalated the pivotal role of the military in the making of foreign and, by extension, domestic policy. The rise of ‘the Generals’ to strategic positions in the Trump regime is evident, deepening its role as a highly autonomous force determining US strategic policy agendas.

In this paper we will discuss the advantages that the military elite accumulate from the war agenda and the reasons why ‘the Generals’ have been able to impose their definition of international realities.

We will discuss the military’s ascendancy over Trump’s civilian regime as a result of the relentless degradation of his presidency by his political opposition.

The Prelude to Militarization: Obama’s Multi-War Strategy and Its Aftermath

The central role of the military in deciding US foreign policy has its roots in the strategic decisions taken during the Obama-Clinton Presidency. Several policies were decisive in the rise of unprecedented military-political power.

  1. The massive increase of US troops in Afghanistan and their subsequent failures and retreat weakened the Obama-Clinton regime and increased animosity between the military and the Obama’s Administration. As a result of his failures, Obama downgraded the military and weakened Presidential authority.
  2. The massive US-led bombing and destruction of Libya, the overthrow of the Gadhafi government and the failure of the Obama-Clinton administration to impose a puppet regime, underlined the limitations of US air power and the ineffectiveness of US political-military intervention. The Presidency blundered in its foreign policy in North Africa and demonstrated its military ineptness.
  3. The invasion of Syria by US-funded mercenaries and terrorists committed the US to an unreliable ally in a losing war. This led to a reduction in the military budget and encouraged the Generals to view their direct control of overseas wars and foreign policy as the only guarantee of their positions.
  4. The US military intervention in Iraq was only a secondary contributing factor in the defeat of ISIS; the major actors and beneficiaries were Iran and the allied Iraqi Shia militias.
  5. The Obama-Clinton engineered coup and power grab in the Ukraine brought a corrupt incompetent military junta to power in Kiev and provoked the secession of the Crimea (to Russia) and Eastern Ukraine (allied with Russia). The Generals were sidelined and found that they had tied themselves to Ukrainian kleptocrats while dangerously increasing political tensions with Russia. The Obama regime dictated economic sanctions against Moscow, designed to compensate for their ignominious military-political failures.

The Obama-Clinton legacy facing Trump was built around a three-legged stool: an international order based on military aggression and confrontation with Russia; a ‘pivot to Asia’ defined as the military encirclement and economic isolation of China – via bellicose threats and economic sanctions against North Korea; and the use of the military as the praetorian guards of free trade agreements in Asia excluding China.

The Obama ‘legacy’ consists of an international order of globalized capital and multiple wars. The continuity of Obama’s ‘glorious legacy’ initially depended on the election of Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, for its part, promised to dismantle or drastically revise the Obama Doctrine of an international order based on multiple wars, neo-colonial ‘nation’ building and free trade. A furious Obama ‘informed’ (threatened) the newly-elected President Trump that he would face the combined hostility of the entire State apparatus, Wall Street and the mass media if he proceeded to fulfill his election promises of economic nationalism and thus undermine the US-centered global order.

Trump’s bid to shift from Obama’s sanctions and military confrontation to economic reconciliation with Russia was countered by a hornet’s nest of accusations about a Trump-Russian electoral conspiracy, darkly hinting at treason and show trials against his close allies and even family members.

The concoction of a Trump-Russia plot was only the first step toward a total war on the new president, but it succeeded in undermining Trump’s economic nationalist agenda and his efforts to change Obama’s global order.

Trump Under Obama’s International Order

After only 8 months in office President Trump helplessly gave into the firings, resignations and humiliation of each and every one of his civilian appointees, especially those who were committed to reverse Obama’s ‘international order’.

Trump was elected to replace wars, sanctions and interventions with economic deals beneficial to the American working and middle class. This would include withdrawing the military from its long-term commitments to budget-busting ‘nation-building’ (occupation) in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and other Obama-designated endless war zones.

Trump’s military priorities were supposed to focus on strengthening domestic frontiers and overseas markets. He started by demanding that NATO partners pay for their own military defense responsibilities. Obama’s globalists in both political parties were aghast that the US might lose it overwhelming control of NATO; they united and moved immediately to strip Trump of his economic nationalist allies and their programs.

Trump quickly capitulated and fell into line with Obama’s international order, except for one proviso – he would select the Cabinet to implement the old/new international order.

A hamstrung Trump chose a military cohort of Generals, led by General James Mattis (famously nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’) as Defense Secretary.

The Generals effectively took over the Presidency. Trump abdicated his responsibilities as President.

General Mattis: The Militarization of America

General Mattis took up the Obama legacy of global militarization and added his own nuances, including the ‘psychological-warfare’ embedded in Trump’s emotional ejaculations on ‘Twitter’.

The ‘Mattis Doctrine’ combined high-risk threats with aggressive provocations, bringing the US (and the world) to the brink of nuclear war.

General Mattis has adopted the targets and fields of operations, defined by the previous Obama administration as it has sought to re-enforce the existing imperialist international order.

The junta’s policies relied on provocations and threats against Russia, with expanded economic sanctions. Mattis threw more fuel on the US mass media’s already hysterical anti-Russian bonfire. The General promoted a strategy of low intensity diplomatic thuggery, including the unprecedented seizure and invasion of Russian diplomatic offices and the short-notice expulsion of diplomats and consular staff.

These military threats and acts of diplomatic intimidation signified that the Generals’ Administration under the Puppet President Trump was ready to sunder diplomatic relations with a major world nuclear power and indeed push the world to direct nuclear confrontation.

What Mattis seeks in these mad fits of aggression is nothing less than capitulation on the part of the Russian government regarding long held US military objectives – namely the partition of Syria (which started under Obama), harsh starvation sanctions on North Korea (which began under Clinton) and the disarmament of Iran (Tel Aviv’s main goal) in preparation for its dismemberment.

The Mattis junta occupying the Trump White House heightened its threats against a North Korea, which (in Vladimir Putin’s words) ‘would rather eat grass than disarm’. The US mass media-military megaphones portrayed the North Korean victims of US sanctions and provocations as an ‘existential’ threat to the US mainland.

Sanctions have intensified. The stationing of nuclear weapons on South Korea is being pushed. Massive joint military exercises are planned and ongoing in the air, sea and land around North Korea. Mattis twisted Chinese arms (mainly business comprador-linked bureaucrats) and secured their UN Security Council vote on increased sanctions. Russia joined the Mattis-led anti-Pyongyang chorus, even as Putin warned of sanctions ineffectiveness! (As if General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis would ever take Putin’s advice seriously, especially after Russia voted for the sanctions!)

Mattis further militarized the Persian Gulf, following Obama’s policy of partial sanctions and bellicose provocation against Iran.

When he worked for Obama, Mattis increased US arms shipments to the US’s Syrian terrorists and Ukrainian puppets, ensuring the US would be able to scuttle any ‘negotiated settlements’.

Militarization: An Evaluation

Trump’s resort to ‘his Generals’ is supposed to counter any attacks from members of his own party and Congressional Democrats about his foreign policy. Trump’s appointment of ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, a notorious Russophobe and warmonger, has somewhat pacified the opposition in Congress and undercut any ‘finding’ of an election conspiracy between Trump and Moscow dug up by the Special Investigator Robert Mueller. Trump maintains a role as nominal President by adapting to what Obama warned him was ‘their international order’ – now directed by an unelected military junta composed of Obama holdovers!

The Generals provide a veneer of legitimacy to the Trump regime (especially for the warmongering Obama Democrats and the mass media). However, handing presidential powers over to ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis and his cohort will come with a heavy price.

While the military junta may protect Trump’s foreign policy flank, it does not lessen the attacks on his domestic agenda. Moreover, Trump’s proposed budget compromise with the Democrats has enraged his own Party’s leaders.

In sum, under a weakened President Trump, the militarization of the White House benefits the military junta and enlarges their power. The ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis program has had mixed results, at least in its initial phase: The junta’s threats to launch a pre-emptive (possibly nuclear) war against North Korea have strengthened Pyongyang’s commitment to develop and refine its long and medium range ballistic missile capability and nuclear weapons. Brinkmanship failed to intimidate North Korea. Mattis cannot impose the Clinton-Bush-Obama doctrine of disarming countries (like Libya and Iraq) of their advanced defensive weapons systems as a prelude to a US ‘regime change’ invasion.

Any US attack against North Korea will lead to massive retaliatory strikes costing tens of thousands of US military lives and will kill and maim millions of civilians in South Korea and Japan.

At most, ‘Mad Dog’ managed to intimidate Chinese and Russian officials (and their export business billionaire buddies) to agree to more economic sanctions against North Korea. Mattis and his allies in the UN and White House, the loony Nikki Hailey and a miniaturized President Trump, may bellow war – yet they cannot apply the so-called ‘military option’ without threatening the US military forces stationed throughout the Asia Pacific region.

The Mad Dog Mattis assault on the Russian embassy did not materially weaken Russia, but it has revealed the uselessness of Moscow’s conciliatory diplomacy toward their so-called ‘partners’ in the Trump regime.

The end-result might lead to a formal break in diplomatic ties, which would increase the danger of a military confrontation and a global nuclear holocaust.

The military junta is pressuring China against North Korea with the goal of isolating the ruling regime in Pyongyang and increasing the US military encirclement of Beijing. Mad Dog has partially succeeded in turning China against North Korea while securing its advanced THADD anti-missile installations in South Korea, which will be directed against Beijing. These are Mattis’ short-term gains over the excessively pliant Chinese bureaucrats. However, if Mad Dog intensifies direct military threats against China, Beijing can retaliate by dumping tens of billions of US Treasury notes, cutting trade ties, sowing chaos in the US economy and setting Wall Street against the Pentagon.

Mad Dog’s military build-up, especially in Afghanistan and in the Middle East, will not intimidate Iran nor add to any military successes. They entail high costs and low returns, as Obama realized after the better part of a decade of his defeats, fiascos and multi-billion dollar losses.

Conclusion

The militarization of US foreign policy, the establishment of a military junta within the Trump Administration, and the resort to nuclear brinkmanship has not changed the global balance of power.

Domestically Trump’s nominal Presidency relies on militarists, like General Mattis. Mattis has tightened the US control over NATO allies, and even rounded up stray European outliers, like Sweden, to join in a military crusade against Russia. Mattis has played on the media’s passion for bellicose headlines and its adulation of Four Star Generals.

But for all that – North Korea remains undaunted because it can retaliate. Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons and remains a counterweight to a US-dominated globe. China owns the US Treasury and its unimpressed, despite the presence of an increasingly collision-prone US Navy swarming throughout the South China Sea.

Mad Dog laps up the media attention, with well dressed, scrupulously manicured journalists hanging on his every bloodthirsty pronouncement. War contractors flock to him, like flies to carrion. The Four Star General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis has attained Presidential status without winning any election victory (fake or otherwise). No doubt when he steps down, Mattis will be the most eagerly courted board member or senior consultant for giant military contractors in US history, receiving lucrative fees for half hour ‘pep-talks’ and ensuring the fat perks of nepotism for his family’s next three generations. Mad Dog may even run for office, as Senator or even President for whatever Party.

The militarization of US foreign policy provides some important lessons:

First of all, the escalation from threats to war does not succeed in disarming adversaries who possess the capacity to retaliate. Intimidation via sanctions can succeed in imposing significant economic pain on oil export-dependent regimes, but not on hardened, self-sufficient or highly diversified economies.

Low intensity multi-lateral war maneuvers reinforce US-led alliances, but they also convince opponents to increase their military preparedness. Mid-level intense wars against non-nuclear adversaries can seize capital cities, as in Iraq, but the occupier faces long-term costly wars of attrition that can undermine military morale, provoke domestic unrest and heighten budget deficits. And they create millions of refugees.

High intensity military brinkmanship carries major risk of massive losses in lives, allies, territory and piles of radiated ashes – a Pyrrhic victory!

In sum:

Threats and intimidation succeed only against conciliatory adversaries. Undiplomatic verbal thuggery can arouse the spirit of the bully and some of its allies, but it has little chance of convincing its adversaries to capitulate. The US policy of worldwide militarization over-extends the US armed forces and has not led to any permanent military gains.

Are there any voices among clear-thinking US military leaders, those not bedazzled by their stars and idiotic admirers in the US media, who could push for more global accommodation and mutual respect among nations? The US Congress and the corrupt media are demonstrably incapable of evaluating past disasters, let alone forging an effective response to new global realities.

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the 35th Anniversary of Sabra and Shatila: The Forgotten Refugees

By Dr. Swee Chai Ang | Arab America | September 13, 2017

This September will be the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Sabra-Shatila Massacre in West Beirut. Three thousand unarmed refugees were killed from 15-18 September 1982.

I was then a young orthopedic trainee who had resigned from St Thomas Hospital to join the Christian Aid Lebanon medical team to help those wounded by Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. That invasion, named “Peace for Galilee”, and launched on 6 June 1982, mercilessly bombarded Lebanon by air, sea, and land. Water, food, electricity, and medicines were blockaded. This resulted in untold wounded and deaths, with 100,000 made suddenly homeless.

I was summoned to the Palestine Red Crescent Society to take charge of the orthopedic department in Gaza Hospital in Sabra- Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, West Beirut. I met Palestinian refugees in their bombed out homes and learned how they became refugees in one of the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Before this encounter, I had never heard of Palestinians.

They recounted stories of being driven out of their homes in Palestine in 1948, often fleeing massacres at gunpoint. They fled with whatever possessions they could carry and found themselves in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

The United Nations put them in tents while the world promised they would return home soon. That expectation never materialized. Since then the 750,000 refugees, comprising half of the population of Palestine in 1948, continued to live in refugee camps in the neighboring countries. It was 69 years ago that this refugee crisis started. The initial 750,000 has since grown to 5 million. Palestine was erased from the map of the world and is now called Israel.

Soon after my arrival, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) evacuated. It was the price demanded by Israel to stop the further relentless bombardment of Lebanon and to lift the ten-week military blockade. Fourteen thousand able-bodied men and women from the PLO evacuated with the guarantee by Western powers that their families left behind would be protected by a multinational peacekeeping force.

Those leaving were soldiers, civil servants, doctors, nurses, lecturers, unionists, journalists, engineers, and technicians. The PLO was the Palestinians’ government in exile and the largest employer. Through evacuation, fourteen thousand Palestinian families lost their breadwinner, often the father or the eldest brother, in addition to those killed by the bombs.

That ceasefire lasted only three weeks. The multinational peacekeeping force, entrusted by the ceasefire agreement to protect the civilians left behind, abruptly withdrew. On September 15, several hundred Israeli tanks drove into West Beirut. Some of them ringed and sealed off Sabra-Shatila to prevent the inhabitants from fleeing. The Israelis sent their allies; a group of Christian militiamen trained and armed by them, into the camp. When the tanks withdrew from the perimeter of the camp on the 18 September, they left behind 3,000 dead civilians. Another seventeen thousand were abducted and disappeared.

On the 35th Anniversary of Sabra and Shatila: The Forgotten Refugees

Our hospital team, who had worked non-stop for 72 hours, was ordered to leave our patients at machine-gun point and marched out of the camp. As I emerged from the basement operating theatre, I learned the painful truth. While we were struggling to save a few dozen lives, people were being butchered by the thousands. Some of the bodies were already rotting in the hot Beirut sun. The images of the massacre are deeply seared into my memory: dead and mutilated bodies lining the camp alleys.

Only a few days before, they were human beings full of hope and life, rebuilding their homes, talking to me, trusting that they would be left in peace to raise their young ones after the evacuation of the PLO. These were people who welcomed me into their broken homes. They served me Arabic coffee and whatever food they found; simple fare but given with warmth and generosity. They shared their lives with me. They showed me faded photographs of their homes and families in Palestine before 1948 and the large house keys they still kept with them. The women showed me their beautiful embroidery, each with motifs of the villages they left behind. Many of these villages were destroyed after they left.

Some of these people became patients we failed to save. Others died on arrival. They left behind orphans and widows. A wounded mother begged us to take down the hospital’s last unit of blood from her to give to her child. She died shortly afterward. Children witnessed their mothers and sisters being raped and killed.

The terrified faces of families rounded up by gunmen while awaiting death; the desperate young mother who tried to give me her baby to take to safety; the stench of decaying bodies as mass graves continued to be uncovered will never leave me. The piercing cries of women who discovered the remains of their loved ones from bits of clothes, refugee identity cards, as more bodies were found continue to haunt me.

The people of Sabra Shatila returned to live in those very homes where their families and neighbors were massacred. They are a courageous people and there was nowhere else to go. Afterwards, other refugee camps were also blockaded, attacked and more people were killed. Today, Palestinian refugees are denied work permits in 30 professions and 40 artisan trades outside their camps. They have no passports. They are prohibited from owning and inheriting property. Denied the right of return to their homes in Palestine, they are not only born refugees, they will also die refugees and so will their children.

But for me, painful questions need to be answered. Not why they died, but why were they massacred as refugees? After 69 years, has the world already forgotten? How can we allow a situation where a person’s only claim to humanity is a refugee identity card? These questions have haunted me and they have yet to receive answers.

Dr. Swee Chai Ang is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and founder of Medical Aid for Palestinians. She is the author of: “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” published by The Other Press.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

6 MAJOR US foreign policy failures of the post-Cold War era

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | September 14, 2017

In the 1990s, US officials, all of whom would go on to serve in the George W. Bush White House, authored two short, but deeply important policy documents that have subsequently been the guiding force behind every major US foreign policy decision taken since the year 2000 and particularly since 9/11.

These documents include the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994–99 fiscal years (more commonly known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine). This document, as the name implies was authored by George W. Bush’s deeply influential Deputy Defense Secretary  Paul Wolfowitz as well as I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who served as an advisor to former US Vice President Dick Cheney.

The other major document, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, from 1996 was authored by former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee in the administration of George W. Bush, Richard Norman Perle.

Both documents provide a simplistic but highly unambiguous blueprint for US foreign police in the Middle East, Russia’s near abroad and East Asia. The contents of the Wolfowitz Doctrine were first published by the New York Times in 1992 after they were leaked to the media. Shortly thereafter, many of the specific threats made in the document were re-written using broader language. In this sense, when comparing the official version with the leaked version, it reads in the manner of the proverbial ‘what I said versus what I meant’ adage.

By contrast, A Clean Break was written in 1996 as a kind of gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who apparently was not impressed with the document at the time. In spite of this, the US has implemented many of the recommendations in the document in spite of who was/is in power in Tel Aviv.

While many of the recommendations in both documents have indeed been implemented, their overall success rate has been staggeringly bad.

Below are major points from the documents followed by an assessment of their success or failure.

1. Regime change against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (A Clean Break)

This objective is in many ways both the clearest initial success and also the most strident overall failure.

In 1996, Richard Perle suggested that removing Saddam Hussein from power would be good for the US and Israeli interest because it would weaken a powerful, large Arab state that had poor relations with the US since 1990 and historically poor relations with multiple regimes in Tel Aviv. While Iraq’s President was removed from power by illegal force in 2003, that which happened subsequently, did not deliver the outcome Perle had desired.

A Clean Break suggests that a post-Saddam Iraq could and should be ruled by a restored Hashemite dynasty, which was originally overthrown in 1958. Perle continues to suggest that Jordan, the last remaining Hashemite state in the Arab world, could work with Israel and the US to make this happen. Even more absurdly, Perle suggests that a Hashemite would-be union between Jordan and Iraq would be able to command more loyalty from Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon than Iran.

The realities could not be more different. After the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, the idea of restoring the Hashemite dynasty was never again floated in any serious forum, as the idea would be simply impossible to implement. There was no will among any major faction in Iraq to restore a monarchy that was overthrown in a revolution in 1958 that many Iraqis continue to look back on with national pride.

Ironically, the biggest Arab bulwark against a resurgent Iran was Saddam Hussein. In the 1980s, the future neo-cons realised this, though they seemingly ignored what they once knew, as early as in 1992.

Since Saddam Hussein’s removal from power and violent execution, Iraq’s majority Shi’a population have generally rallied around Iran politically, militarily and spiritually. Iraq has recently signed a defensive military pact with Iran and it is well known that many of the Shi’a volunteer brigades which are fighting ISIS in Iraq have received training and advice from Iranian experts.

While the US bases in Iraq make a US military presence closer to Iran than it was prior to 2003, by the same token Iran’s influence in the Arab world, especially in Iraq has grown substantially. In any case, the desired illegal ‘regime change’ war against Iran will likely never happen for two reasons. First of all, many in the Pentagon and in Washington moreover, realise that such a war would be an unmitigated disaster for the US and secondly, Iran has many influential international partners that it did not have in the 1990s, primarily Russia. Russia as well as China would not stand for a war on Iran in 2017.

In this sense, the US got very little of what it claimed it wanted in overthrowing Saddam apart from the weakening of a united Iraq.

2. ‘Containing’ Russia and China by preventing them from becoming superpowers (Wolfowitz Doctrine)

This policy has failed on every front. Since the rise of George W. Bush, the first White House adherent to the Wolfowitz Doctrine, Russia and China have risen to a status which means that there are three global superpowers, not the lone American superpower dreamt of by Wolfowitz and Libby.

China’s economic rise has fuelled a more robust stance from Beijing on global affairs. China now vigorously defends its claims in the South China Sea, has continually outflanked the US on the Korean issue, is engaged in the building of One Belt–One Road, the most wide reaching trade and commerce initiative in modern history and has opened its first military base overseas.

At the same time, the People’s Liberation Army continues its modernisation programme, making it as formidable a force which for all practical purposes, is as battle ready and capable as those of the US and Russia, countries which during the Cold War, had far superior armed forces to China.

Likewise, Russia’s return to superpower status, has been equally crushing in respect of the goals of Wolfowitz and Libby. Russia has not only strengthened old alliances but is now an important ally or partner to countries which were former Cold War opponents or otherwise non-aligned countries. This is true in respect of Russia’s alliances and partnerships with China, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Philippines and increasingly Indonesia. Russia is also becoming ever closer to South Korea and even Japan.

With Russia’s military now boasting modern defence systems which can rival those of the US and in many cases are objectively superior to those of the US, the idea that the US would prevent Russia from re-attaining super-power status and China emerging as a super-power has become a patent absurdity.

3. Containing Syria via Turkey and Jordan (A Clean Break)

For a while, this plan was implemented with some degree of success by the Obama administration. While Jordan never played a substantial part in the proxy wars on Syria, apart from being a NATO transport corridor, Turkey did help to undermine Syria’s sovereignty with its armed forces and its own proxies.

While relations between Turkey and Syria remain poor, relations between Turkey and the rest of its NATO ‘allies’ is also poor.

Turkey has quietly ceased its support for terrorist groups (aka the opposition) in Syria, is participating in the Astana Peace Process with long time Syrian allies Russia and Iran and is engaged in multiple trading and commercial deals with Russia, including the purchase of the Russian made S-400 missile defence system.

The overall result of Turkey’s participation in the Syrian conflict has been a strengthening of Turkey’s relationship with historical adversaries, Russia and Iran, something which has happened simultaneously to Turkey’s essentially dead relationship with the EU and its incredibly weakened relationship with the US.

All the while, Ba’athist Syria has emerged from the conflict victorious with its commitment to the Palestinian cause as strong as ever.

Far from being “contained”, Syria is now more admired throughout the wider world than at any time in the last three decades.

4. Molesting Russia’s borderlands (Wolfowitz Doctrine)

In the original text of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, there was a provision stating that the US must work to make sure that places like Ukraine and Belarus became part of the US  economic and geo-political orbit, maintaining both “market economies” and “democracies”.

The 2014 US engineered coup against the legitimate government in Kiev was a knee-jerk US response to the fact that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an economic association agreement with the EU, under the guise that the Ukrainian economy cannot afford to cut itself off from Russia.

Yanukovych was subsequently overthrown in a violent coup, and a neo-fascist pro-western regime was installed. However, this can hardly be considered a success as the sheer violence and incompetence of the current Kiev regime has made it so that Ukraine, a place whose borders were always dubious to begin with, will almost inevitably fracture into something unrecognisable.

Already, much of Donbass has been incorporated into the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics that will never go back to Kiev rule and Crimea, whose relationship with Kiev was even more tenuous is now happily reunited with the rest of the Russian Federation.

Seeing the coup in Kiev, Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko has pledged to crack down on any would be trouble-makers, all while remaining a committed albeit tantrum prone ally of Russia.

The only part of this element of the Wolfowitz Doctrine which has not been a failure has been the weaponisation of eastern Europe. The reason this has succeeded is due to the fact that Russia has no interest in invading eastern Europe. Russia has merely responded by building up its defences against NATO’s provocative weaponisation of Poland and the Baltic States.

5. Weakening Hezbollah (A Clean Break)

In 2017, Hezbollah is not only more popular than ever, but its militarily might is stronger than at any time in its history. Hezbollah’s role in fighting terrorism in Syria has won the party praise from groups in Lebanon that previously were never keen on Hezbollah, as well as individuals in the wider world who seek to build a genuine anti-terrorist coalition.

The conflict in Syria has drawn Iran, Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon (the heartland of Hezbollah) closer together than they have ever been. This has in many ways been a result of the common cause of fighting groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda that bound them all together.

In 2006, Hezbollah dealt Israeli forces a major defeat in South Lebanon. Today, Hezbollah is even stronger and everyone in Israel is all too aware of this.

This was a major failure in respect of implementing the ‘destruction’ of Hezbollah advocated by Richard Perle.

6. North Korea not to be allowed nuclear weapons (Wolfowitz Doctrine)

The fact that North Korea just tested what is widely believed to be a hydrogen bomb, is a clear indication that this major goal of Wolfowitz and Libby has failed.

Beyond this, while Russia has condemned both North Korea and US led provocative acts on the Korean peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged that North Korea does have the right to self-defence, something which has become even more prescient after North Korea witnessed the destruction of Iraq and Libya which did not have weapons capable of deterring a US invasion.

Russia and China have clearly seized the initiative on the Korean issue. Apart from launching a disastrous war on North Korea, the US can now do little to change the realities in Pyongyang.

CONCLUSION: 

The aggregate effect of this analysis indicates that the US is still highly capable of starting wars and igniting conflicts throughout the world, but that it is likewise hardly ever capable of winning these conflicts or even achieving a majority of its own stated goals.

As the two most revealing foreign policy documents from the US in the post-Cold War era, both the Wolfowitz Doctrine and A Clean Break have been abject failures. In many cases, in attempting to achieve the goals of these documents, the United States has ended up achieving the opposite.

The US is militarily strong, but strategically, diplomatically and geo-politically, it is actually close to impotent.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Media Begs US to Prepare For War With Syria, Russia, Iran

By Andrew Illingworth | Al Masdar News | September 9, 2017

BEIRUT, LEBANON – Israeli media has reached the new moral low of openly begging the United States to prepare for war in Syria even if it means coming into direct confrontation with major Syrian allies like Russia and Iran.

In a recent article titled “Why Israel needs to prepare America for the upcoming conflict in Syria,” Jerusalem Post writer Eric R. Mandel (an American Zionist) proposes that the US government and people must be made war-willing partners of Israel in the event of any future attack by the Israeli Defense Forces against Syrian, Russian and/ or Iranian military targets.

The article by Mandel is an outstanding example of how Israeli pro-war interest groups – speaking through right-wing Zionists in top American military and foreign policy circles – try to entice the US government and population into participating in wars that only benefit the hegemonic ambitions of Israel’s deep state.

At a time when violence in the Syrian conflict has reached an all time low due to the patient diplomatic efforts of Russia and Iran in establishing de-escalation zones, Mandel delivers a well-placed lie in his article that is designed to scare American audiences into supporting military actions that would effectively destroy such hard earned achievements towards peace.

The myth claimed by Mandel to be fact is that the Lebanese rebel movement Hezbollah completely controls the Lebanese government as well as a number of (unnamed) South American governments and that its own puppet master in this insidious conspiracy against Israel is Iran.

Indeed, Mandel’s lie is highly reminiscent of the now proven-to-be-nonsense ‘axis of evil’ conspiracy theory (in which Ba’athist Iraq, North Korea, Iran and Al-Qaeda were all in cahoots with one another) that was pushed by US politicians, and reverberated by the Western media, in order to justify the invasion of Iraq.

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli support for Kurdish statehood is a poisoned chalice

By Mahan Abedin | MEMO | September 12, 2107

With the referendum on proposed Kurdish independence just two weeks away, the stage is being set for the gravest political and potential military crisis in post-Baathist Iraq. Months of intense lobbying by Iranian, Turkish and even American officials and interlocutors has failed to dissuade the Iraqi Kurdish leadership from staging this catastrophically divisive referendum.

In his combative interview with the BBC, the president of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, Masoud Barzani, left no doubt that the referendum is the first formal step in the march toward full independence. More ominously, Barzani appeared to acknowledge that plans to officially annex Kirkuk may well spark a major war.

Every regional and extra-regional power, including the United States, is opposed to Kurdish statehood, with one exception. Israel. Whilst sections of the Iraqi Kurdish media are jubilant at this rhetorical support, Kurdish leaders will have to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of Israeli support before they formally declare statehood.

While Israel will undoubtedly prove a strong ally of an independent Kurdish state, it is the support it is willing to offer in the run-up to independence that will prove decisive. Even rhetorical Israeli support will drastically inflame the situation and bring the Kurds into armed conflict with the pro-Iranian Shia militias massed to the south of Kirkuk.

A peripheral policy

Israel’s support for nationalist Kurdish movements is strong and long-standing, dating back to the early 1960s. This policy is part of Israel’s “Alliance of the Periphery” doctrine, which in short amounts to developing strong ties to non-Arab states on the periphery of the Middle East with a view to combating the Arab boycott of the Jewish state.

Whilst the periphery doctrine was originally aimed at Turkey, Iran and Ethiopia, with time it expanded to incorporate non-state actors, principally the Kurds, whose quest for statehood Israel has consistently supported for decades.

Analysis centred on the putative “collapse” of the periphery doctrine is likely to prove premature. Whilst it is true that Turkey can no longer be regarded as a reliable Israeli partner, this will motivate Israeli strategists and operatives to seek out and develop new peripheral partners. Moreover, the peripheral policy survived its biggest crisis nearly forty years ago when almost overnight Iran went from an informal Israeli ally to the most vociferous enemy of the Jewish state.

Given this chequered history of missteps and strategic miscalculations, analysts are right to be wary of how useful this periphery doctrine is. However, as long as Israel’s occupation of Palestine continues to draw strong Arab, Muslim and broader international opposition, Israel will seek to identify and develop stealthy means by which to undermine, isolate and eventually exhaust this opposition.

It is in this context that leading Israeli strategists, including former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, push the case for Kurdish independence, primarily by trying to align Kurdish statehood with the interests of the United States and the West in general. This devious perspective is entirely in keeping with the perennial Israeli policy of equating its own core interests with that of the West. In this instance, Israeli diplomacy and wider lobbying efforts will try to sell Kurdish independence to policymakers in Washington, by presenting it as the best long-term strategy to contain Iranian influence in Iraq.

The road to war

Apart from strong rhetorical support, what practical steps can Israel take to support the Iraqi Kurdish quest for statehood? This is a vexing question, as on the face of it Israeli influence in Iraqi Kurdistan is practically non-existent. This author spent the first half of 2009 in Iraqi Kurdistan working as a journalist and despite widespread rumours didn’t uncover any evidence of Israeli involvement in Kurdish affairs.

Yet this influence surely exists, particularly at the security and intelligence level. It is in part due to the Israeli connection that the Kurdish intelligence agency, the Asayish, has developed into one of the most capable intelligence agencies in the Middle East. In keeping with Kurdish national aspirations, the Asayish has grown in reach and capability, not only spying on regional countries, but even managing to run modest operations as far afield as the United Kingdom.

Indeed, qualified Kurdish independence in Iraq now seems all but inevitable. This appears to be the assessment of US intelligence services, Washington’s stated opposition to the issue notwithstanding. Qualified independence in this context implies highly contested statehood, lacking widespread international support and drawing immediate internal and external opposition.

The most immediate opponents to Kurdish statehood in Iraq are the Shia paramilitary forces, who alongside their political patrons in Baghdad, have deep-seated interests in Kirkuk, which is home to a sizeable Shia Turkmen population. The collapse of the Iraqi army in the face of Daesh’s sweeping advance in June 2014 has significantly changed the military security landscape in Kirkuk and the immediate areas to the south, bringing the Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia paramilitaries into dangerously close proximity.

The Shia paramilitaries, organised as Popular Mobilisation Units, reportedly maintain six military bases close to Kirkuk and are poised to engage the Peshmerga militarily should the need arise. From a purely speculative point of view, limited military engagements may follow the independence referendum as a means of deterring the Kurdish leadership from taking further steps toward formal independence.

From a broader strategic perspective, Israeli support for the Kurdish cause is a poisoned chalice for Kurdish nationalists in so far as it makes a sustainable Kurdish state unacceptable to Iran and by extension to its Shia allies in Iraq. But judging from Masoud Barzani’s combative rhetoric, he appears to be willing to take the risk.

Read: Israeli flag will be raised in independent Kurdistan, claims prominent Likud member

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

September 11, 2001: Questions to Ask if You Still Believe the Official Narrative

By Tony Cartalucci | Land Destroyer | September 11, 2017

The attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11) left nearly 3,000 dead in NYC, Washington D.C. and over Pennsylvania. The attacks transformed America into a deepening police state at home and a nation perpetually at war abroad.

The official narrative claims that 19 hijackers representing Al Qaeda took over 4 commercial aircraft to carry out attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

The event served as impetus for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan which continues to present day. It also led directly to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Attempts to cite the attack to precipitate a war with Iran and other members of the so-called “Axis of Evil” (Libya, Syria, North Korea, and Cuba) have also been made.

And if this is the version of reality one subscribes to, several questions remain worth asking.

1. Can the similarities between 9/11 and plans drawn up by the US Department of Defense (DoD) and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in 1962 under the code name “Operation Northwoods” be easily dismissed? 

The US DoD and JCS wrote a detailed plan almost identical to the 9/11 attacks as early as 1962 called “Operation Northwoods” where the US proposed hijacking commercial airliners, committing terrorist attacks, and blaming Cuba to justify a US military intervention.

Far from a fringe conspiracy theory, mainstream media outlets including ABC News would cover the document in articles like, “U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba,” which would report:

In the early 1960s, America’s top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.

Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.

The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba’s then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.

A full PDF copy of the document is available via George Washington University’s archives and states specifically regarding the hijacking of commercial aircraft:

An aircraft at Eglin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA proprietary organization in the Miami area. At a designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be loaded with the selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual registered aircraft would be converted to a drone.

The document also cites the USS Maine in describing the sort of event the DoD-JCS sought to stage, a US warship whose destruction was used to maliciously provoke the Spanish-American War. It should be noted, that unlike the DoD-JCS document’s suggestion that airliner-related casualties be staged, the USS Maine explosion killed 260 sailors. It is likely that DoD and JCS would not risk engineering a provocation that leads to major war but allow low-level operators left alive with the knowledge of what they had participated in.

Considering that the US sought to deceive the public in order to provoke an unjustifiable war that would undoubtedly kill thousands or tens of thousands of innocent people, and that other proposals did include killing innocent people, it is worth considering that US policymakers would also be just as willing to extinguish innocent lives when staging the hijacking of aircraft to provoke such a war.

2. Why did US policymakers draw up extensive plans to reassert US global hegemony – including regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – without any conceivable pretext until 9/11 conveniently unfolded? 

In 2000, US policymakers from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) sought a sweeping plan to reassert America as a global hegemon. In a 90-page document titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defense: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century” (PDF), a strategy for maintaining what it called “American military preeminence” would be laid out in detail.

It involved global moves the United States – in 2000 – could never justify, including placing US troops in Southeast Asia, building a global missile defense network prohibited by treaties signed during the Cold War, and the containment of developing nations that would eventually end up rolling back US global hegemony in the near future, including Iran, Iraq, China, North Korea, Libya, and Syria.

The report noted the difficulties of proposing and executing the transformations necessary to achieve the objectives laid out in the document. It would be explicitly stated that:

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.

In fact, the entire body of the document is an uncanny description of the post-9/11 “international order,” an order unimaginable had the events of 9/11 not transpired.

It should also be remembered that wars predicated on 9/11 like the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, were admittedly planned before 9/11 took place.

The Guardian in its 2004 article, “Bush team ‘agreed plan to attack the Taliban the day before September 11’,” would report:

The day before the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration agreed on a plan to oust the Taliban regime in Afghanistan by force if it refused to hand over Osama bin Laden, according to a report by a bipartisan commission of inquiry. The report pointed out that agreement on the plan, which involved a steady escalation of pressure over three years, had been repeatedly put off by the Clinton and Bush administrations, despite the repeated failure of attempts to use diplomatic and economic pressure.

While it seems inconceivable that the American or global public would tolerate the multi-trillion dollar 16 year war that the invasion of Afghanistan has become without the attacks on 9/11, such a war was admittedly in the making – in fact – years before 9/11 unfolded.

Similarly, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was strongly linked to the aftermath of 9/11, but was likewise decided upon long before 9/11 unfolded.

CNN in its article, “O’Neill: Bush planned Iraq invasion before 9/11,” would report:

The Bush administration began planning to use U.S. troops to invade Iraq within days after the former Texas governor entered the White House three years ago, former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill told CBS News’ 60 Minutes.

This echos similar statements made by US Army General Wesley Clark who repeatedly warned that the US sought global-spanning war post-Cold War to assert its hegemony over the planet, and fully sought to use 9/11 as a pretext to do it.

General Clark would list seven nations slated for regime change post 9/11, including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – all nations now either at war or facing war with the United States and its proxies – or in the case of Libya – entirely divided and destroyed in the wake of US military operations.

3. If primarily Saudi hijackers with Saudi money and Saudi organization perpetrated the attacks of 9/11, why has the United States waged war or threatened war with every nation in the Middle East except Saudi Arabia and its allies? 

Not only has the United States made no moves against Saudi Arabia for its apparent role in the 9/11 attacks – spanning the administrations of US President George Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump – the United States has sold Saudi Arabia billions in arms, provided military support and protection to Saudi Arabia’s military and government, partnered with Saudi Arabia in its ongoing conflict with Yemen – all while US government documents and leaked e-mails between US politicians reveal Saudi Arabia is still a state sponsor of Al Qaeda – the organization officially blamed for the 9/11 attacks.

Indeed, a 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report would explicitly admit:

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

The DIA memo then explains exactly who this “Salafist principality’s” supporters are:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

This “Salafist principality” is now known as the “Islamic State,” an affiliate of Al Qaeda still operating with significant state sponsorship everywhere from Syria, Iraq, and Libya, to the Philippines and beyond.

Coincidentally, Saudi-armed and funded terrorists in the Philippines has served as a pretext for US military assets to begin expanding their presence in Southeast Asia, just as the aforementioned 2000 PNAC document had sought.

Additionally, in a 2014 e-mail between US Counselor to the President John Podesta and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it would be admitted that two of America’s closest regional allies – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – were providing financial and logistical support to the Islamic State.

The e-mail, leaked to the public through Wikileaks, stated:

… we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to [the Islamic State] and other radical Sunni groups in the region.

While the e-mail portrays the US in a fight against the very “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) it sought to create and use as a strategic asset in 2012, the fact that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both acknowledged as state sponsors of the terrorist organization – and are both still enjoying immense military, economic, and political support from the United States and its European allies – indicates just how disingenuous America’s “war on terror” really is.

If the US truly believed Al Qaeda carried out the deadly attacks of 9/11, why does it count among its closest allies two of Al Qaeda’s largest and most prolific state sponsors?

Together – by honestly answering these three questions – we are left considering the very real possibility that 9/11 was not a terrorist attack carried out by foreign terrorists, but rather an attack engineered by special interests within the United States itself.

If we reject that conclusion, we must ask ourselves why the US DoD and JCS would take the time to draft plans for false flag attacks if they did not believe they were viable options US policymakers might seriously consider. At the very least we must ask why those at the DoD and JCS could be caught signing and dating a conspiracy to commit unspeakable terrorism to justify an unjust war and not only avoid criminal charges, but remain employed within the US government.

We must also ask ourselves why US policymakers would draft long-term plans for reasserting American global hegemony without any conceivable pretext to justify such plans. Even in the wake of 9/11, the US government found it difficult to sell the invasion of Iraq to the American public and its allies. Without 9/11, such salesmanship would have been impossible. In Syria – with 9/11 disappearing into the distant past – US regime change efforts have all but stalled.

Finally, we must find adequate explanations as to why those sponsoring the supposed perpetrators of 9/11 have remained recipients of unwavering American support, weapon sales, and both political and military protection. We must attempt to answer why militants fighting in Syria under the banner of Al Qaeda have been able to openly operate out of NATO-member Turkey’s territory for the past 6 years, side-by-side US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) personnel who are admittedly fueling the conflict with weapons, money, and training “accidentally” ending up in Al Qaeda’s hands.

It is clear – that at the very least – the official narrative in no shape, form, or way adds up. If the official narrative doesn’t add up, what does?

September 11, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Islamophobia, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

NY Times op-ed: Mainstream 9/11 narrative “totally false, literally from the first minutes”

By Kevin Barrett | Veterans Today | September 11, 2017

Today, on the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 neocon coup d’état, the New York Times editorial page has published a column by economist Paul Krugman calling the official narrative “totally false” – and accusing the Bush-Cheney Administration of “rejoicing” at the successful attack on America.

Here is Krugman’s key passage:

In the weeks and months after the atrocity, news media had a narrative about what it meant – basically, that it was a Pearl Harbor moment that brought America together with a new seriousness and resolve. This was comforting and reassuring. It was also totally false, literally from the first minutes.

The truth, as we now know, is that Bush administration officials rejoiced, even as the fires were still burning, at the opportunity they now had to fight the unrelated war they always wanted.”

Krugman does not come right out and say that the Bush-Cheney gang “rejoiced” because they were celebrating a successful covert operation. Nor does he mention the many Israelis who were even more blatantly celebrating their New Pearl Harbor deception:

*The “dancing Israelis,” Mossad agents all, who according to the NYPD had been pre-positioned to film the attacks, and who photographed themselves cheering wildly and flicking cigarette lighters in front of the burning and exploding Twin Towers.

*Benjamin Netanyahu, whose first reaction was that the attacks were “very good,” and who reaffirmed that years later by saying “We are benefitting from one thing” – 9/11.

*Mike Harrari, the legendary Mossad chief, who threw a celebratory party and openly claimed credit for 9/11, according to self-proclaimed eyewitness Dmitri Khalezov.

From ex-Chief Harrari to its agents on the ground in New York, the Mossad wildly and openly celebrated 9/11. The CIA’s reaction was somewhat more ambivalent. According to CIA Iraq Desk asset Susan Lindauer, her Case Officer, Richard Fuisz —who had known ahead of time that a big terror attack would be hitting Lower Manhattan — was on the phone with her on the morning of 9/11 as live television showed the Towers burning and then, suddenly, exploding. Lindauer says that as the Towers exploded, Fuisz’s reaction was an anguished scream: “The goddamn Israelis!”

But just a few weeks later, Bush called a celebratory party at the CIA, broke out the champagne all around, reassured everyone that their jobs were safe, and called 9/11 “just a memory” amidst an atmosphere of relief and rejoicing. (T.H. Meyer, Reality, Truth, and Evil.)

What does “liberal with a conscience” Paul Krugman know about the Bush Administration’s (and Israel’s) celebrations of 9/11? Presumably more than he’s telling us.

Why won’t Krugman just come right out and tell us what he really thinks? Presumably because he knows the New York Times would never publish it.

So Krugman’s breakthrough op-ed — the most truthful assessment of 9/11 ever published in a leading American newspaper — uses the kind of double-speak championed by neoconservative guru Leo Strauss. According to Strauss, ordinary people cannot handle the truth, so “philosophers” (i.e. neocons) should feed them comforting lies…while at the same time letting the truth slip through, from between the lines, in such a way that the philosophers, who are careful readers alert to multiple meanings, will understand the half-hidden message.

Krugman passes the buck for his, and the rest of the liberal media’s, failure to report 9/11 honestly:

The thing was, people just didn’t want to hear about this reality.

Maybe they didn’t want to hear it. But if the New York Times had published screaming headline after screaming headline from 9/12/1001 onward about…

*the controlled demolitions

*the bizarre “failure” of America’s air defenses

*the Israeli celebrations (and huge pre-9/11 operation in America)

*the Secret Service’s behavior in the Florida school where Bush was reading about pet goats

*the absurdity of the “hijackings” narrative

*the grotesquely un-Islamic behavior of the “Islamic extremist” alleged hijackers

*the complete lack of evidence of a plane crash at the Shanksville “Flight 93 crash site”

*the fact that at least nine alleged hijackers turned up alive afterwards

… the American people would have listened, risen up, and overthrown an evil regime that was bent on shredding the Constitution, doubling the military budget, and bankrupting America with wars aimed primarily at genocidally destroying the Middle East for the benefit of expansionist Israel.

The biggest and worst failure after 9/11 was the failure of the media to report the facts. Krugman and the rest of his liberal media colleagues who dropped the ball are complicit in the worst crimes against humanity ever perpetrated: The murder of 32 million Muslims in a genocidal war aimed at utterly destroying the Middle East, the annihilation of American Constitutional democracy, the bankrupting of the US and global economies, and the wholesale shifting of scarce resources away from taking care of people and building sustainable infrastructure, towards ever-escalating technologies and practices of wholesale destruction and mass murder.

The CONSCIENCE of a liberal?! I suspect that Krugman is suffering from bad conscience, and the disguised doublespeak version of 9/11 truth that he is telling in the NY Times op-ed pages is the rather pathetic result.

I hope and pray that Krugman and others in similar positions will follow the lead of those who, like leading Islamic Studies expert Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl, have been driven by their consciences to speak more forthrightly about 9/11.

September 11, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment